How I’m Working Out: Back to the Weights

Squat your way back into shape.

As some of you may know, from time to time I write for STACK Media, and while searching their website, I came across this article from Joe Lopez. You may remember that I spent some time working with body weight exercises exclusively, but I had grown tired of that and figured it was time to get back into the gym. With Joe’s workout and some new found motivation, I hit the weights hard. Here’s what you can expect.

I only had one reason that helped me decide to go with Joe’s workout , it’s simple. The workout itself breaks down like this, five sets of 10 reps of:

  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press
  • Should Press
  • One-Arm Row

And that’s it. Pretty simple stuff. Lopez’s workout is great because it targets full body lifts. These lifts hit every major muscle group in the body (to some extent) and are very challenging, even for experienced lifters.

bench press
Benching is a staple, blast your chest.

If you haven’t been in a gym recently, this might be a tough workout at first. I could hardly move the day after I started it. Jumping back into squats and deadlifts after taking some time off really drains you. My posterior chain was on fire, but after working for a few days the soreness left and I was able to lift heavier. Make sure to concentrate on proper form. The great thing about these exercises is that you don’t need to lift heavy right away to see results. Go light and focus on form to build a good base. From there, you can progress to heavy weights and greater gains.

Lopez recommended following a four day Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday split, with core work or rest on the off days. No cardio either. My schedule (and desire) has led me to a Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday split, with core work and miscellaneous other body weight exercises on off days. Feel free to adjust it to fit your schedule as well.

Another thing to note, take care of your nutrition! If you haven’t been working out, you’ll see results regardless, but it’s always worth it to evaluate what your diet consists of, especially when starting a new workout plan. Lopez really highlights protein consumption and his general rule of one gram of protein per pound of body weight is sound. Good (standard) sources of protein include chicken, peanut butter and protein shakes (if you take supplements) but I’d do some research and find which sources work best for your budget and time.

Overall, this is a challenging yet simple workout. I’d set aside about an hour to run through it, but it’s worth the results. Even if it’s only three times a week, you’re going to be working your muscles in ways you’ve neglected them before. After a few weeks, you’ll be happy you gave this one a shot.

If you enjoyed this post, let us know by leaving a comment.

A certified personal trainer and graduate of Northwestern University (M.A. in Sport Adminstration), Steve is resident fitness expert and music snob of JustAGuy. In addition to fitness and music, Steve also enjoys sports. Feel free to trash talk him at

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